What I am doing at present
Food for the brain
To make sure that my grey cells do not die off completely, I have been studying Ancient Greek for some months with the aim of reaching a standard that will enable me to read the New Testament without a translation. At my advanced age – one forgets things more easily - this takes no small effort, as I have found. I am also learning the pronunciation from tape recordings made by some English people, and this is particularly amusing.
Lack of strength training
As I have contracted something like "golf elbow", I have unfortunately been obliged to give up my daily strength training since September 2006. I find this very frustrating, as I feel the lack of the addictive bloodflow through my body and would dearly love to regain and feel my muscle tone.
I do not find it easy to avoid putting on weight without strength training, as my appetite remains undiminished. Accordingly I am glad that from a low of 69.8 kg (autumn 2006) – the lightest I have been since my confirmation – I had a brief lapse to 80 kg and have now arrived back at a tolerable 76.1 kg. This requires iron discipline on a daily basis. In my case maintaining my bodyweight is only possible by dietary means, as even 5 hours of teaching WingTsun every day, during which I am almost constantly on the move, hardly do anything to burn off superfluous calories. This WT man has (unfortunately) learned to move very economically ...
Chi-Sao and reaction training
Fortunately my elbow pain does not interfere with my Chi-Sao and reaction training. Accordingly I devote 4 hours of each day to this, and enjoy every minute of this training time with my students.
I have made it my aim to work only on the tactile sense and reactions whis year, i.e. above all on Chi-Sao, Chi-Gerk and Chi-Kwan. In short, my research area is everything involving the sense of feeling.
Both on a one-to-one basis and in small groups, I am working with TGs and PGs on the concept of a pure Chi-Sao as a means of self-defence, and I am very gratified by the sensational improvements and amazing superiority that each one achieves even after a short time!
Now that I have not only developed a programme of purely conceptual Chi-Sao, but also proved its practical worth, I have started to turn my attention to the Chi-Sao sections or "partner Chi-Sao forms".
My aim is to breathe life into these "dead" sequences and make them teachable in a new way, so that they really can contribute to improved reactions. To this end I am examining one partner form after another, in order to share my findings with my students in advanced classes. I think I can claim to be fairly satisfied with the results, and you will be too.
As soon as the results of optimised reaction training show themselves in the average EWTO school, the next aim will be to implement these capabilities into self-defence training, for Chi-Sao is a means to an end! The end is combat, or rather self-defence.
And as Roland clearly expressed it in his last article on Chi-Sao, not primarily self-defence against a WingTsun attacker. We must finally rid ourselves of this traditional, exclusively incestuous thinking!
I will back up these aims with appropriate books on which I am currently working with great enthusiasm; the more I write, the more clear everything becomes to me:
1. "Winning with 6 Reactions"
This will be a fairly large, thick book with wonderful photos, some of them by outstanding photographers.
It concerns the reactions implanted by Chi-Sao training which are an indispensable aid in a self-defence situation. I do not need to point out that this book is not about fixed "partner forms", but about Chi-Sao exercises which should be systematically practiced and have in part never been published?
I begin with numerous, usually completely unknown one-armed exercises in which the neglected diagonal and outside techniques play a particularly important part.
I precisely pinpoint all sources of errors, then explain how to avoid them, use the opponent’s mistakes and if necessary save the day even though one has made them.
I then turn to two-armed exercises, many of which will be unknown to most people.
The last part of what is probably the most comprehensive book about Chi-Sao as a practical means of preparing for self-defence training is devoted to a chapter on implementing the implanted, reflexive reactions in a real self-defence situation.
Each day I take more and more pleasure in how this book is growing towards completion, and I hope to present it to you after the summer.
As I spend many hours each day practicing and defending against hand-strikes to the neck, I am more than aware how dangerous such training can be. The more the skills of my advanced students improve, and the faster their attacks, the more it becomes important and indeed essential to provide a certain minimum in neck protection.
Accordingly the EWTO will soon be offering a neck protector which gives protection against light (!) strikes without rendering the head immobile.
The fact that something like this has not basically existed in the history of WingTsun (Wing Chun) before makes it very clear to me that this probably most effective of all forms of training has never been seriously practiced.
Let me take this opportunity to warn all TGs and PGs that hand-strikes and thrusts to the neck must be forbidden to all student grades! Instead these techniques should only be performed with a closed fist (hammer blow or backfist), thereby avoiding potentially fatal pressure on the neck by virtue of the larger impact area. The safety of students always has the first priority for us, and not the question of whether "traditional" WingTsun had the backfist in its repertoire or not.
Naturally the more advanced, i.e. TGs and PGs, are permitted to work with hand-strikes, but only with the necessary safety in mind, initially only during Chi-Sao and if possible only after a personal induction by myself.
Neck protection must always be worn by both partners. On the basis of my current experience I would never again contemplate advanced Chi-Sao training without this neck protection!
But since even the best neck protection cannot guarantee absolute safety, I have requested Dr. Wurster, who is probably one of the most experienced police medical officers, to give a talk about first-aid measures for neck impacts for a whole day on Monday, 12th March 2007 as part of the WT course of university study. I can only advise every conscientious WT instructor to acquire this knowledge at first hand.
2. Pyjama editorials
The best of my editorials, as well as a number of important, previously unpublished articles, some of which feature photos specifically taken for this book, are soon to appear as a substantial volume. Many people have asked me to do this, and I am pleased that I will soon be able to fulfil their wish.
WingTsun university study
Our course will soon come to an end with the academic title of "Bachelor", before we enter the next stage leading to the degree of "Master" and – perhaps for a lucky few – to the coveted "Dr.".
So far I have been present at every stage of the course of study, even though it has often been difficult owing to other commitments, and if possible I also intend to participate in the next round, probably in 2008, to support and encourage the new intake.
Things are going more than well for the current and the new study course: the host country of Bulgaria is now an EU member, the Director of Studies, Prof. Dr. Margaritov, is the Deputy Sports Minister and the Deputy Minister of Education, Dr. Dobreva, is a member of our team of professors. Those who wish to commence their studies in 2008 should therefore contact Mr Kolb at the Castle without delay, so that we can make the necessary arrangements.
Int. seminar in Lübeck from 7th to 10th June 2007
A 4-day International WT and Escrima seminar will take place in Lübeck from 7th to 10th June (Thurs. to Sun.). This will involve several parallel events in different rooms, depending on grading, with instruction given by GGM Leung Ting, GM Bill Newman and of course myself. Hopefully we will have enough roms available, so that Roland can show you a few ChiKung applications to improve your WT performance at the seminar.
There will also be numerous senior master grades from Germany and abroad, and as a new participant we look forward to Victor Gutierrez (national instructor for Spain and Portugal), who will give instruction on improving one’s chances on the ground.
We will only be in a position to announce the precise programme, teachers and training content when we know how many rooms we will have at our simultaneous disposal.
I can already state with confidence that Lübeck will be very special! Each instructor will teach his absolutely favourite topic or speciality, and those who are not there will really miss something!
The seminar will be topic-oriented, but it will also be possible to grade.
In addition to the scheduled programme, GGM Leung Ting will also be giving tutorials (e.g. long pole) on the first two days. Events and social get-togethers are planned for the evenings.
GGM Leung Ting’s 60th birthday
When you read this editorial we will have celebrated GGM Leung Ting’s 60th birthday in Livorno with thirteen Chinese guests. Naturally a report will follow for those who were unable to attend.
With best wishes from the Italian seminar in honour of Grandmaster Leung
Keith R. Kernspecht
1. The seminar in beautiful Küsnacht, Switzerland (10.3.)
2. The WT course of university study at the Castle from 12th to 18th May
Let me urgently remind you again of Dr. Wurster’s talk on first-aid measures following attacks to the neck.